Visit the Group News Blog operated by friends of Steve:

Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Walt: "My, How Time Does Fly ..."

Not quite the huge event they made it out to be....

Thanks to Walt for this great cross-post!

Has it only been four years, dear readers? Four short, sharp years since a statue fell in a public square (obligingly aided by one of the invader's tanks)? Four short, sweet years in which callow administrators, selected for their ideological purity, sallied forth to create an empire with the words of an earlier Empire's own bard ringing in their ears:

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another's profit
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine,
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
(The end for others sought)
Watch sloth and heathen folly
Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No iron rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go, make them with your living
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden,
And reap his old reward--
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you.

Take up the White Man's burden!
Have done with childish days--
The lightly-proffered laurel,
The easy ungrudged praise:
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers.

- Rudyard Kipling, 1899

Ah, such winning words, and surely it was all done with the best of intentions. Lay aside the fact that we invaded a country that had done us no harm; leave on the table, unregarded, the fact that the causes of our invasion would make the accusers of Dreyfus blush; what matters is the here and now, four years on.

And now, four years, nearly 3,300 lives and nearly $350 billion ($8 billion of it still unaccounted for) later, what thanks are we getting from the "silent sullen peoples" of Iraq?

This (money quotes below):

Four years after that moment, with violence besieging the country, Jubouri is concerned with neither benchmarks nor timelines, troop strengths nor withdrawal dates. What he cares most about is security and order, of which, he said, he has seen very little. He blames Iraq's Shiite-led government and its security forces, and wishes for a return of the era led by the man whose statue he helped tear down.

But the numbers that most directly affect Jubouri are these: Seven of his relatives and friends have been killed, kidnapped or driven from their homes. He gets four hours of electricity a day, if he's lucky. The cost of cooking gas and fuel have soared, but his income is a quarter of what he used to earn.

And this (along with attendant money quote):

Calling the United States the "great evil," radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Sunday accused U.S. forces of dividing Iraq by stoking violence. He also urged his Mahdi Army militiamen and Iraqi security forces to stop fighting each other in Diwaniyah, a southern city where clashes erupted late last week.

From the White House we can expect nothing literate, but I think that if Our Dear Leader was a reading man (mirabile dictu) he would loudly say:

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!"*

* That's from King Lear, by Shakespeare.

- posted by Walt

Labels: ,